Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Shariah Wars

The Shariah Wars have passed a milestone on the road with the publication of Shariah: The Threat to America published on September 15, 2010 by the Center for Security Policy (CSP).

The report is a watershed event. Though skirmishing has gone on for several years over the religious law of Islam, the report is a manifesto and a declaration of war. It has been enthusiastically received and adopted on the political and religious right and has been commended by Republican congressmen and candidates for office in the mid-term election, which occurs in less than a month.

In its most accurate meaning Shariah refers to the vast literature of theological and juridic interpretation of the Qur'an and the Sayings of the Prophet accumulated over the 1300 year history of Islam.

In the sense used by anti-Islamist combatants in the Shariah Wars it means "a hateful and barbaric law code which compels all Muslims to subjugate non-Muslims violently overthrow governments and establish Shariah as the only legal system."

The attackers in the Shariah Wars are the anti-Islamists, and the defenders are Muslims. Muslims are categorized generally as following into Moderates and Islamists (or Extremists, Salafis, or Jihadists).

A useful distinction is made between Moderates and Puritans by Professor Khaled About El-Fadel at UCLA Law School, most likely the greatest expert in Islamic Jurisprudence in the United States. His foremost concerns are interpretations of Shariah among Islamic jurisprudents, among whom there has been a civil war raging throughout the latter half of the twentieth century on the fundamental issue of the relationship of Islamic Law to liberal democratic values and constitutional law systems.

A more insightful categorization is of Islam, Islamism, and Militant Islamism used by Saudi-American US Navy officer CMDR Youssef H. Aboul-Enein in his recent book Militant Islamist Ideology, which has been given a rave review by the respected Austin Bay.

Stakes are high in the Shariah Wars. Upon its outcome depends our ability to effectively engage in the ongoing transnational effort to defeat Militant Islamism.
The report asserts that all interpretations of Shariah are inherently seditious, and those who adhere to it are to be denied positions of trust in government and the military. All imams who advocate Shariah are to be jailed for preaching sedition.

Useful books for analyzing the report and judging its merits are the following:

CMDR Youssef H. Aboul-Enein: Militant Islamist Ideology
Mohammad Hassan Kamali: Shari'ah - An Introduction

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